Water Heater Demo

The water heater was a bit of a mystery to us because the previous owner, Al, had some repairs done to Alice that were a bit mystifying to us. There are propane lines that go under the belly pan of Alice feeding into the old fridge and the water heater.

You read that right. The propane lines were exposed to the ground. Not the safest place for a propane fuel line to be.

We were not sure how to tackle this problem so Tim did research. While he Googled how to demo a water heater, I sourced out the cost of replacing the water heater.

The main issue with removing the water heater was the fact that the propane hose came up through a whole drilled straight through the floor, past the belly pan to connect to the rest of the propane plumbing dangling under there.

Tim’s first thought was that the water heater could be detached from the outer faceplate, but that wasn’t possible.  It’s all one piece, so nothing could be removed without removing the propane hose that was piercing it.

He first detached the hose from the underside plumbing, and from the water heater itself.  The hose was only secured by about an inch of ageing putty, so the whole hose slid right out of its hole after some vigorous wiggling.

After that we were left with large hole that goes straight up through our floor.  We’ll need to patch that (and probably others) later.

After the propane plumbing was removed, he removed the dozen or so screws holding the water heater’s faceplate to the side of Alice.  It still wouldn’t budge after that, because there was still thick layers of old, decaying putty holding the faceplate in place, and after cutting through the putty with a box cutter the water heater came out in one piece.

Starred Photos80

What was left were some wires, cardboard, insulation and more mice poop. Always, always mice poop.

Good news is that finding a replacement water heater will be easy, choosing which one to buy and whether or not to go tankless or traditional will be tough. Prices are about the same. The weight will be different.The traditional one weighs 70lbs while the tankless is obviously less weighing in at 32lbs. I don’t know if we would go with Atwood but it seems like across the board appliance wise, Atwood gets consistently good reviews.

water heatersWhen researching whether or not to go with tankless or the traditional I came across this article on FunTimes Guide RV section and this article on Mod My RV. I found both very informative. After that article a few similar to it, I am really leaning toward tankless or on-demand water heater.

What kind of water heater do you have in your RV, Airstream, Trailer, Bus, Tiny House? Did you keep your original water heater or did you replace it with something new? Was efficiency the highest priority when choosing your water heater? Or maybe the initial cost of the water heater tipped your decision one way or another? What brand did you choose or do you have? Would you make the same choice again? If not what would you do differently?

Please sound off below in the comments, we would love your input!

Airstream Water Heater Demo

2 thoughts on “Water Heater Demo

  1. Amber

    I just had a very enjoyable time reading through your blog start to finish! I love how you are chronicling everything. We ended up with an Avion, so there are lots of similarities. Ours is a 1984 30R, with a layout very similar to yours (twin beds in the back, couch turns to bed in the front). The layout that we had been searching for, like you. After taking it out a few times we are so ready for a tankless! We have been turning the water heater off at night or even during the day when we know we won’t be using it much because out in nature it’s super annoying to hear it come on at random times. We have on demand at home and love it. Also our trailer has a bath tub and we can’t get it very full without running out of hot water, so that’s annoying too. I’m trying to remember what other questions you posted, hmm. Oh ya space in the kitchen. We took out the microwave which left a huge bit of space. I have a toaster and little electric kettle in the trailer instead (plus range of course). It also helped to think about where we wanted stuff not just where things usually go. For instance we put the dishes and cutlery (in a plastic cup) in the pantry so our young kids could grab it themselves and then used the upper cabinets for chips, canned goods, etc. A hanging canvas sweater thing ($10) converted our closet without having to go to the expense of drawers or shelves, and we can go back to lots of hanging space if we need it. Look forward to following your progress!

    1. Meg Shannon Post author

      I am excited to hear yet another (people on instagram have been suggesting tankless too) person like the tankless. We are definetly leaning that way. Where can I see photos of your Avion? I checked out your blog, it is beautiful but couldn’t find any photos of your trailer.


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